United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
SPARKS SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
REMEMBERED on this day the Court reviewed the file in the
above-styled cause, and specifically, Defendant American
Bankers Insurance Company of Florida (ABIC)'s Motion for
Summary Judgment [#44], Plaintiff Orvid Powell's Response
[#49] in opposition, and ABIC's Reply [#55] in support,
as well as Powell's Motion for Extension of Time to
Complete Discovery [#48] and ABIC's Response [#53] in
opposition. Having reviewed the documents, the
relevant law, and the case file as a whole, the Court now
enters the following opinion and orders.
an employment discrimination case. ABIC hired Powell as a
human resources associate in May 2009. Mot. Summ. J. [#44-3]
Ex. C (Stingone Decl.) at 3. ABIC's human resources
team-consisting of Powell and five other associates-was
responsible for data entry related to ABIC's
employee-management systems. Id. Since 2007, the
human resources team has been supervised and managed by Lisa
Stingone. Id. at 2.
December 2013, Powell asked for a received permission to work
from Austin, Texas on a temporary basis. Id. at 4.
Subsequently, Powell's job performance in 2014 and 2015
lagged behind that of his coworkers. Id. at 4-5.
Powell received the lowest performance evaluation scores of
any member of the HREA team in both 2014 and 2015.
Id. Powell also passed audits of his work at a lower
rate than his coworkers. Id.
contends that sometime in the spring of 2015 it began to
automate certain data entry functions performed by the human
resources team. Id. at 5. ABIC further contends that
as a result of this ongoing automation, it no longer needed
to employ six human resources associates. Id. at
5-6. Stingone, the manager of the human resources team,
determined Powell should be let go because he qualified as
the lowest performing member of the human resources team.
October 2015, Powell was informed he was being laid off.
Id. at 6. Subsequently, on October 25, 2015, Powell
filed a charge with the EEOC alleging ABIC discriminated
against him on the basis of race, sex, and disability. Compl.
[#1-1] Ex. 1 at 2-12. After the EEOC dismissed Powell's
case, he filed this lawsuit in federal court on September 30,
2016 alleging violations of Title VII and the ADA. Compl.
[#1]. ABIC now files the pending motion for summary judgment
which is ripe for review.
judgment shall be rendered when the pleadings, the discovery
and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323-25 (1986); Washburn v. Harvey, 504
F.3d 505, 508 (5th Cir. 2007). A dispute regarding a material
fact is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict in favor of the
nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). When ruling on a motion for summary
judgment, the court is required to view all inferences drawn
from the factual record in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Washburn, 504
F.3d at 508. Further, a court "may not make credibility
determinations or weigh the evidence" in ruling on a
motion for summary judgment. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing
Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000);
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 254-55.
the moving party has made an initial showing that there is no
evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, the party
opposing the motion must come forward with competent summary
judgment evidence of the existence of a genuine fact issue.
Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. Mere conclusory
allegations are not competent summary judgment evidence, and
thus are insufficient to defeat a motion for summary
judgment. Turner v. Baylor Richardson Med. Ctr., 476
F.3d 337, 343 (5th Cir. 2007). Unsubstantiated assertions,
improbable inferences, and unsupported speculation are not
competent summary judgment evidence. Id. The party
opposing summary judgment is required to identify specific
evidence in the record and to articulate the precise manner
in which that evidence supports his claim. Adams v.
Travelers Indem. Co. of Conn., 465 F.3d 156, 164 (5th
Cir. 2006). Rule 56 does not impose a duty on the court to
"sift through the record in search of evidence" to
support the nonmovant's opposition to the motion for
summary judgment. Id.
disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing laws will properly preclude the entry of
summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
Disputed fact issues that are "irrelevant and
unnecessary" will not be considered by a court in ruling
on a summary judgment motion. Id. If the nonmoving
party fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to its case and on which it
will bear the burden of proof at trial, summary judgment must
be granted. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23.
claims ABIC discriminated against him on the basis of race,
sex, age, and disability in violation of Title VII and the
ADA. He also claims ABIC illegally retaliated against him in
violation of Title VII. The Court first addresses
Powell's Title VII ...